Duchess Potatoes

December 4th, 2020

These beautiful piped Duchess Potatoes make the perfect accompaniment to any holiday dinner. The added advantage is that you can pipe them ahead of time onto the baking sheets and bake them right before dinner.

Duchess Potatoes are mashed potatoes that are flavored with butter, cream, nutmeg and egg yolks. The potato mixture is put in a pastry bag using a star tip. My Daughter-In-Law made these over the Thanksgiving holiday and our 9 year old Grandson loved them. He said the crispy edges made the mashed potatoes delicious.

All of us are scaling back this Christmas. But we can still enjoy good food and the love our families, even if it is at a distance.

Duchess Potatoes

  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 egg yolks

1 Boil the potatoes: Place potatoes in a medium to large pot (3 qt) and cover with a couple inches of cold water. Add a couple teaspoons of salt to the water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender (the tines of a fork easily pierce), about 20-25 minutes.

2 Melt butter, preheat oven: While the potatoes are boiling, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and set aside. You will use this butter to coat the potatoes right before they go in the oven. Preheat the oven to 425°.

3 Drain potatoes and let them release steam: When the potatoes are cooked, drain in a colander and put the potatoes back in the pot set over low heat. Allow them to release steam for a minute or so.

4 Using a ricer, run the potatoes in batches through the device into a large bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of butter and mash the potatoes until the butter has been incorporated. Add the nutmeg, black pepper, heavy cream and continue gently stirring the potatoes.

Once everything is incorporated, add salt to taste and the egg yolks.

Continue to mix until the mixture is smooth. Do not over-mix or your potatoes will end up with a gluey consistency.

5 Pipe onto a baking sheet, brush with melted butter: Using a piping bag with a large star point, pipe the potatoes onto a cookie sheet. Alternatively, you can just fill a casserole dish with the mashed potatoes, and use a fork to create lots of peaks on the surface.

The swirled edges from the star-point piping bag forms or the peaks of mashed potatoes in a casserole dish will brown nicely in the oven. The browned parts taste great, so you want to maximize them.

Whether you make piped portions or a casserole, paint the potatoes with the melted butter.

6 Bake: Bake in the 425°F oven until nicely browned, about 20 minutes.

Printable Recipe

Cranberry Orange Muffins

November 22nd, 2020

I am sending all of you my best wishes for a safe and secure Thanksgiving. We will have a small Thanksgiving with just six of us. All of us have been very careful. I made these Cranberry Orange Muffins for breakfast to enjoy, either between the two of us or shared with our limited family members. They freeze well.

There is lots of orange zest, orange juice and a small hit of citrus flavoring in the batter along with frozen cranberries that burst in the oven and lend their tart essence to the mix.

You can find the recipe here. Let the holidays begin. It has been a tough year. Let us hope for a better New Year.

PF Chang’s Lettuce Wraps

September 23rd, 2020

We have foregone visiting many restaurants during this pandemic. The exceptions have been restaurants that have outside seating. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy restaurant meals at home. There are many copycat recipes on the internet. PF Chang’s lettuce wraps are among them. I combined several different recipes to come up with one that suited my tastes.

This adaptation has a hit of heat to it from the chili-garlic paste. It has crunch from the water chestnuts and flavors of the orient from hoison sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger and garlic.

The summer has passed quickly. Many decisions were made with caution in mind. We decided to cancel the family 4th of July celebration. Having 14 people crowded together in our cottage did not seem wise. But when Labor Day rolled around we reconsidered. The family had been careful with contacts and we spent much of our time outside. Meals were simplified so we did not have to spend as much time shoulder to shoulder cooking. But we still managed to have our annual blind wine tasting. Thank you Dave Anderson for the fine selection of Grenache wines.

Welcome to Fall with a toast to good health and a future free of dread.

PF Chang’s Lettuce Wraps

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chili-garlic paste or sambal oelek (less if you don’t like heat)
  • 1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
  • 3 green onions, thinly chopped
  • 1 head of Bibb or butter lettuce

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the ground chicken and cook until chicken is browned crumbling as you go.

Add the onion and cook until onion begins to wilt. Add the garlic and ginger. Stir and cook for a few minutes more.

While chicken is browning combine the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar and the chili-garlic paste. Add this mixture to chicken mixture in the skillet. Cook for 5 minutes or so to combine flavors.

Add the water chestnuts and cook for a minute more.

Serve in lettuce leaves with the chopped green onions. ( I added a few diced red peppers for color).

Printable Recipe

Braised Pork Chops with Tomatoes, Cream and Porcini Mushrooms

August 19th, 2020

It has been a long summer. I haven’t been blogging and I apologize for not letting all of you know that all is well with me. We have been staying at home as many others have also. I just needed a break from social media for a while. But I am back and following all of you again. Thanks Lynne for checking up on me.

I have been cooking, but nothing inspiring or new until I made this pork chop dish. It comes from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan. My Daughter-In-Law gave me a container of dried gourmet mixed mushrooms for Christmas and they led me to search out recipes including dried mushrooms.

This is not a quick recipe. Several steps are required. But I have the time. My days have fallen into a new rhythm. Mornings are spent on necessary chores or trips to the grocery store. Early afternoons are spent reading or binge watching Netflix shows. I have seen every episode of The Great British Baking Show and I’m working my way through each season of NCIS. But at 4:00 P.M. I am usually in the kitchen. I like the concept of “slow cooking”. Working my way through a recipe that requires slow deliberate steps is calming.

The braised pork chops are flavored with white wine, tomatoes, heavy cream, the dried mushrooms and fresh button mushrooms. It is a dish worth the time.

Braised Pork Chops with Tomatoes, Cream, and Porcini Mushrooms

  • 1 ounce (1/2 cup) dried porcini or other dried mushrooms soaked in 2 cups of warm water for at least 30 minutes.
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds pork chops, preferably from the center loin, cut 3/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, drained and cut up
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • The filtered water from the mushroom soak
  • 1/2 pound fresh white button mushrooms
  1. Choose a sauté pan that can subsequently accommodate all the chops without overlapping. Put in 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, turn on the heat to medium high, and when the oil is hot, slip in the chops. Brown the meat deeply on one side, the do the other.
  2. Add the white wine, letting it simmer briskly for 15 to 20 seconds, while using a wooden spoon to scrape loose any browning residues in the pan. Add the tomatoes, cream, salt and pepper the cup-up reconstituted drained porcini mushrooms. (Save the soaking water). Turn the heat down to cook at a very gentle simmer, and cover the pan, setting the lid on slightly ajar.
  3. Cook for 45 minutes, or more, depending on the exact thickness and quality of the chops, until the meat feels tender when prodded with a fork. Turn the chops from time to time.
  4. While the chops are cooking, put the filtered water from the porcini mushroom soak into a small saucepan, and boil it down to about 1/3 cup.
  5. Wash the fresh white mushrooms rapidly under cold running water and wipe them thoroughly dry with a soft cloth towel. Cut them into very thin lengthwise slices without detaching the caps from the stems.
  6. Choose a sauté pan that can contain the fresh mushrooms without crowding them. Put in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and turn on the heat to high. When the oil is hot, put in the mushrooms. Stir them frequently, adding salt and pepper. When the liquid they will shed has boiled away, add the reduced filtered water from the porcini soak, and continue to stir frequently until there is no more liquid in the pan. Take off heat.
  7. When the pork chops are tender, add the cooked mushrooms to their pan. Turn the chops and mushrooms, cover the pan again, and continue cooking for 5 to 8 minutes always over moderate heat. Transfer the entire contents of the pan to a warm platter and serve at once.

Printable Recipe


Carne Guisada

May 8th, 2020

Carne Guisada is a Tex-Mex dish whose translation is “Stewed Meat”. In Josef Centeno’s new cookbook, Amá; a Modern Tex-Mex Kitchen there is no doubt that this stew shines in its simplicity. It is nothing more than beef chunks cooked with chilis, spices, tomatoes and beef broth. The 3 hours in the oven meld the flavors and soften the meat into succulent pieces.

The chef/ author, grew up having these tacos for breakfast. This makes so much sense. Folding soft meat, flavored with Mexican spices into a sturdy flour tortilla works well as breakfast in the back seat of a car on the way to school.

But we enjoyed the Carne Guisada for dinner. I have to admit that I ended up adding some condiments like cheese, onions, peppers and lettuce. They made enough that we can have then again over rice, in a bowl with tortilla chips or over scrambled eggs. I love that we can make many meals from this recipe. By the way, if you don’t have the right chilis just use what you have. I used jalepeños and 1 serrano.

CARNE GUISADA

  • 2 Ancho chilis
  • 4 Tbls oil
  • 2 1/2 to 3 lbs boneless short ribs or chunk roast, cubed in 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 Serrano chili, stemmed, seeded and finally chopped
  • 1 Tbls oregano- preferably Mexican oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp cunim seed
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 Tbls flour
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes

If using ancho chiles: using tongs, toast over open flames of a gas burner until slightly softened and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Stem and seed the chilis and tear into pieces. If using jalapeños: Stem seed and chop.

Heat 2 Tbls. oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add beef and brown in batches on all sides. Remove to a plate.

Add remaining 2 Tbls. oil to the pot. When oil is hot, add onions, chilis and salt and cook over medium heat, scraping up brown bits of meat until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, cumin seeds, chili powder, bay leaves and pepper and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds.

Add the flour and stir to incorporate. Add the beef cubes and their juices back to the pan. Stir. Add the beef broth and tomatoes and bring the mixture to a boil.

Transfer the pot to a preheated 300 degree F. oven and cook for about 3 hours.

Printable Recipe

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.